Apple has fully committed itself to freedom of information and expression through a document that it has published on its human rights policy.
This document was published after increased pressure from its shareholders to avoid future controversy.
The United States tech giant has recently been criticised for removing virtual network applications from its App store in China, with a shareholder proposal in its February annual general meeting telling the company to publicly show its commitment “to respect freedom of expression as a human right”.
Whilst this proposal was defeated, it did gain a significantly large amount of votes, gaining 40.6% of the votes cast, much higher than other motions that were put forward previously on similar topics in the company.
This was enough for the company to respond, and thus it released the new document.
In the policy document, Apple states: “We believe in the critical importance of an open society in which information flows freely, and we’re convinced the best way we can continue to promote openness is to remain engaged, even where we may disagree with a country’s laws”.
The company added that the policy was based on the business and human right guiding principles formulated by the United Nations.
In recent weeks, human rights activists have called on Apple to disassociate itself from supplies that are allegedly using the forced labour of thousands of ethnic Uighurs in Chinese factories, also being heavily criticised for removing an app that helped Hong Kong protestors track the local police’s movements.
With regards to the latter issue, Apple argued that the app was being used in order to target individual police officers and to victimise individuals and property, thus violating Hong Kong’s laws.